The Houston Dynamo took a 2-0 second-half lead but finished in a 2-2 tie with the Seattle Sounders on Tuesday morning at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla. The Dynamo remain unbeaten in five games (3-0-2) against MLS opposition this preseason.
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Houston will kick off the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic on Thursday night, facing Toronto FC in the semifinals at 7 p.m. CT in a match that can be watched live at MLSSoccer.com. FC Dallas and Orlando City meet in the other semifinal, with the winners and losers squaring off on Saturday night.
On Tuesday, less than 15 hours after arriving in Orlando, the Dynamo sent out a mix of veterans and young players against Seattle's current starting 11 after the Sounders played mostly reserves in a 2-0 win over Dallas on Monday. Each team had early chances, with Cam Weaver and the Dynamo asking for a penalty kick in the second minute and Fredy Montero firing wide for Seattle in the eighth minute.
Houston struck first, however, when Montero saw his pocket picked deep in his own half by Houston's Geoff Cameron. The active Cameron, who worked in several showy dribbling moves in the middle of the field throughout the match, streaked into the right side of the penalty area and, instead of shooting from a tight angle, played the ball to the back post where Weaver tucked it in for his first goal of the preseason.
The Dynamo continued to pressure in the 25th minute when a great long ball by Brad Davis relieved pressure and found Will Bruin over the top. His shot was deflected out for a corner kick, which eventually fell to Danny Cruz at the top of the box. He rifled a low, left-footed shot to the right-hand post. Seattle's Kasey Keller saw the shot late but did well to dive to his left and make the initial save, with Weaver's follow-up ruled out for offside.
Keller also had to be alert to stop a near-post shot from Kofi Sarkodie in the 31st minute after a cross from Davis on the left. The most impressive play of the half, however, came 10 minutes later. Montero dropped deep to pick the ball up near the halfway line, then dribbled through space to the top of the box. He played a give-and-go with Brad Evans, hitting a full volley on the return pass from inside the area, only to see the shot hit the crossbar and drop straight down on the goal line before being cleared. That allowed Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall to extend his preseason shutout streak to 265 minutes.
The Dynamo changed their entire lineup at the half, while Seattle made one substition in goal. When play resumed, Houston's Alex Dixon and Seattle's Steve Zakuani traded early chances, with Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric saving a close-range header from Montero after a Zakuani cross. The Dynamo went up 2-0 in the 57th minute when Francisco Navas Cobo swung in a corner from the left, and Brian Ching's header was parried by Seattle goalkeeper Josh Ford but caromed in after deflecting off a Sounders player.
Seattle got back in the game in the 61st minute, however, when O'Brian White went flying in the penalty area, and Eddie Robinson - who adamantly claimed he had gotten the ball - was whistled for a foul. Montero stepped up to the penalty kick, and although Deric guessed correctly, he could only get a hand to the shot.
The Sounders then went to their bench, and both teams began to look less organized. Seattle capitalized in the 69th minute when left back Michael Tetteh took advantage of lax marking to run inside to the middle of the field, then exchange passes with an open Roger Levesque in the penalty area before tapping past Deric to tie the score.
Houston had two late chances to win the match, the first coming when Mike Chabala played a great ball over the top to Ching in the 82nd minute. Ching squared the ball for Jason Garey, but Ford came out bravely to smother Garey's shot. Corey Ashe had a dangerous cross cleared out of the six-yard box in the final minute, and the match finished 2-2. Although the final two goals left the Dynamo frustrated at the end of the match, they remained unbeaten against MLS teams heading into Thursday's tournament semifinals.
Seattle Sounders vs. Houston Dynamo
February 22, 2011 -- ESPN Wide World of Sports, Orlando FL
HOU -- Cam Weaver (Geoff Cameron) 11
HOU -- Brian Ching (Francisco Navas Cobo) 57
SEA -- Fredy Montero (penalty kick) 62
SEA -- Michael Tetteh (Roger Levesque) 69
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller (Josh Ford 46), James Riley (Richard Martinez 62), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Taylor Graham 62), Jeff Parke (Leonen Cruz 62), Leo Gonzalez (Michael Tetteh 62), Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque 62), Osvaldo Alonso (Servando Carrasco 62), Brad Evans (Jonathan Prieto 62), Steve Zakuani (Miguel Montano 62), O’Brian White (Pat Noonan 62), Fredy Montero (Lamar Neagle 62).
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall (Tyler Deric 46), Kofi Sarkodie (Jordan Graye 46), Bobby Boswell (Eddie Robinson 46), Andrew Hainault (Jermaine Taylor 46), Hunter Freeman (Mike Chabala 46), Danny Cruz (Francisco Navas Cobo 46, Josue Soto 70), Richard Edwards (Lovel Palmer 46), Geoff Cameron (Alex Dixon 46, Francisco Navas Cobo 87), Brad Davis (Corey Ashe 46), Cam Weaver (Brian Ching 46), Will Bruin (Jason Garey 46).
SEA -- Brad Evans (caution) 19
HOU -- Richard Edwards (caution) 22
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial